PREVIEW: #2 Ferris State Make Longest Trip In School History To Central Washington

FSU
Ferris State at Central Washington
Saturday, Sept. 14 - 4:05 pm (PT) / 7:05 pm (ET)
Video:  ESPN3 (ESPN.com & ESPN App)
Radio:  97.3 FM WDEE
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Tickets:  Info | (509) 963-1429
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Game Notes (PDF)
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This Week's Action
The Ferris State University Bulldogs will square off against the Central Washington Wildcats in the NCAA Division II Showcase National Game of the Week this Saturday (Sept. 14) in Ellensburg, Wash. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. (PT) or 7:05 p.m. (ET). The game will be carried live by ESPN3 online at ESPN.com and via the ESPN app. It will represent the longest trip in school history for the Bulldogs.
 
The Matchup
The Bulldogs reached the NCAA Division II National Championship game for the first time in school history last fall, matching an all-time NCAA record with 15 victories (15-1). FSU also claimed the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and Super Region Three titles. The Bulldogs return nearly 60 letterwinners and 18 starters from last year's team that reached the D2 National Championship game. Meanwhile, Central Washington fell to FCS member Idaho 41-31 on the road in its season opener after posting an 8-3 mark a year ago on the heels of an 11-1 campaign in 2017 when the Wildcats reached the D2 Playoffs.
 
Media Coverage
Along with the TV coverage, Saturday's game will be aired live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with the veteran broadcast team of Rob Bentley (play-by-play) and Sandy Gholston (color) calling the action. Pregame coverage gets underway at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for a complete listing of links.
 
Close Win In Week One
Ferris State posted a close 24-23 win over former league foe Findlay, which went 8-3 last year, in the season opener last Thursday (Sept. 5) night at Top Taggart Field. The Oilers pulled within a point in the final minute, but could not convert on a potential game-winning two-point conversion try.

Week One Victory
The Bulldogs topped Findlay in week one last Thursday 24-23 behind the play of senior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids/West Catholic), who earned the start and threw for 228 yards while running for a team-high 61 yards in the victory. Russell accounted for two scores in the triumph.
 
GLIAC Champions
Ferris State officially secured the program's 10th GLIAC Championship by winning last year's title in outright fashion. The Bulldogs went unbeaten in conference action for the third time in the last five seasons.  Overall, FSU has now won 11 games or more six times in school history, including five-straight years.
 
Memorable Bulldog Run
Over the last five seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 61-8 overall record and claimed three conference championships, posted three unbeaten regular-seasons, captured two regional titles and reached the national quarterfinals three times. Ferris State has also accumulated three Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won 10 postseason games.
 
Preseason Top Two Team
Ferris State was a consensus top two team nationally in virtually every preseason Division II national poll, including as high as #1 by the Massey Ratings and CompughterRatings.com. FSU was also picked second by Street & Smith's, Lindy's, College Football America, D2Sports Football and the American Football Coaches Association. 
 
National Power & State's Best
Now in the eighth season under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 76-15 overall mark in his tenure and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival. Overall, Annese has won 84% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 301 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
 
The 111th Season
The 2019 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 111th season of varsity competition.  The program actually began in 1900, but no football was played in 1908-09, 1917-18, 1932 and from 1942-45 for various reasons.  Additionally, no scores are available from either the 1912 or 1916 seasons.  Ferris has an all-time mark of 454-444-40.
 
Big Win Seasons
Last year marked only the seventh time in school history in which the Bulldogs had won at least 11 games in a campaign, but also the fifth year in a row. In 2016, FSU matched the school-record of 12 wins set in 1995 (12-1) and the Bulldogs topped the feat last year (15-1). The past five seasons represent the first time in which the Bulldogs have notched at least 11 wins five years in a row. 

The Head Coaches
Ferris State – Tony Annese (Alma, 1983), 8th season, 76-15-0 (.835) – 0-0 vs. CWU).  Annese recorded a 195-41 (.826) mark as a head coach in four stops at the high school level before totaling a 30-4 (.882) record in three years as the head coach at Grand Rapids Community College.  His overall career mark at all levels is 301-60 (.835) to date and includes three prep state championships and two national JUCO crowns. He claimed his 300th win last season with the national semifinal victory at Minnesota State.
 
Central Washington - Chris Fisk (Jamestown, 2001), 1st season - (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Fisk joined the Wildcats' staff as co-offensive coordinator in 2016 and was named head coach in February. His offense has ranked among the nation's best the last three years. He previously coached at Southern Oregon and the University of Mary after playing collegiately for the University of Jamestown (ND) and Southwestern College (Kan.).
 
First-Ever Meeting
Saturday's matchup will mark the first-ever contest between Ferris State and Central Washington. It will also represent the Bulldogs' first-ever tilt versus a team from Washington or the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) along with the Bulldogs' first-ever matchup against a team west of the Continental Divide.
 
Longest Road Trip Ever
The 2,039-mile trip will nearly double the Bulldogs' previous longest trip, which was last year's national title game to McKinney, Texas (1,098) against Valdosta State. Including Saturday's contest, the Bulldogs will have made the four-longest trips in school history in the past three seasons, including two last fall.
 
 * 2019 - Central Washington - Ellensburg, Wash. (2,039 miles)
 * 2018 - D2 National Championship Game - McKinney, Texas (1,098)
 * 2017 - Fort Hays State (D2 Playoffs) - Hays, Kansas (980)
 * 2018 - Ouachita Baptist (D2 Playoffs) - Arkadelphia, Ark. (916)
 * 1995 - New Haven (D2 Playoffs) - New Haven, Conn. (879)
 
Ferris State's previous furthest regular-season trips West in school history were back-to-back visits to former D2 member North Dakota in 2004 and 2005 in Grand Forks (810 miles).
 
Close Win Over Oilers
Last Thursday's season-opening win over Findlay represented another close game in a tightly-contested all-time series. In the 28 meetings between the two teams, a total of only 70 points have now separated the two squads. Last year, FSU had posted a decisive 59-13 triumph in a battle of top 20 ranked teams in Big Rapids. However, in 2015, Ferris State had to rally from a 28-14 halftime deficit to pull out a 42-39 win in Ohio and the Bulldogs also escaped with a 20-17 road triumph in 2016. 
 
Top Rushing QB
FSU QB Jayru Campbell lead all QB's in the country in rushing (1,460 yards) last fall. The Bulldogs have had the nation's leading rushing quarterback in D2 football now six of the past seven years. In 2016, former quarterback Reggie Bell's 1,081 yards on the ground in the regular-season were the most of any QB in the country. Previously, two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning QB Jason Vander Laan led all quarterbacks in rushing in D2 football each of his four years from 2012-15. 
 
Former Bulldogs In The NFL
The Bulldogs have had 10 different players in NFL rookie or training camps over the past two years. Currently, former DB Tavierre Thomas is on the Cleveland Browns' 53-man roster while four past standouts are presently still on NFL practice squads - DL Zach Sieler (Baltimore), LB Brady Sheldon (Green Bay), WR Malik Taylor (Green Bay) and DT Justin Zimmer (Atlanta). Former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning QB Jason Vander Laan was also with the Carolina Panthers as a tight end in camp this summer. Sieler became FSU's first-ever NFL Draft pick when he was chosen by the Ravens in 2018 in the seventh round. 

Only Team In The Nation
With last year's run to the national championship game, the Bulldogs became the nation's only team to reach the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals each of the past three seasons. Ferris State claimed the Super Region Championship in 2016 with a decisive road win at rival Grand Valley State in the quarterfinals to reach the national semifinals for the second time in school history. In 2017, the Bulldogs also made it back to the national quarterfinals, but fell to Harding on a game-ending field goal at home in Big Rapids. 
 
300 Career Victories
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese notched his 300th career victory at all levels with last year's NCAA Semifinal win over Minnesota State. Annese took over the Bulldog program following three impressive years as the head coach at Grand Rapids Community College, which came on the heels of a highly successful 25-season stint at the prep level. Annese has won championships at every level, including three high school state championships and two national titles on the junior college level. He is 301-60 (.834) at all levels in his head coaching career.
 
Great Road Record
In seven seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have been a dominant road team. Presently, the Bulldogs are 38-7 (.844) under his direction in games played away from Top Taggart Field over the course of his seven seasons at the helm. Ferris State's mark is even better outside of his first two seasons as the Bulldogs own a 29-4 mark since the start of the 2014 season away from Big Rapids.
 
All-Region Honorees
A region-best total of six Ferris State University football standouts earned acclaim by being named to the 2018 Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-Super Region Three squad last year. The Bulldogs had four first-team honorees, including quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech), who was also chosen as the D2CCA Super Region Three Offensive Player of the Year. The other first-team picks included a pair of senior offensive linemen in tackle Devon Johnson (Aurora, Ill.) and guard Nic Sawyer (Ann Arbor/Saline) along with defensive back Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, NJ). Meanwhile, defensive end Austin Edwards (Lansing) and defensive back Adrian Green (Ellenwood, Ga.) both garnered all-region second team accolades. All but Johnson and Sawyer return.
 
Cliff Harris Award Honorees
A pair of returnees, defensive end Austin Edwards (Lansing) and defensive back Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.) were chosen as two of the national nominees last fall for the 2018 Cliff Harris Award, which is presented to the nation's top small college defensive player. The Cliff Harris Award is presented by The Little Rock Touchdown Club and is given to the nation's top small college defensive player representing more than 5,000 defensive players from almost 500 NCAA Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities. 
 
Bulldog Graduates On The Field
A pair of Bulldog players, senior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids) and senior slot receiver Dion Earls (Chicago), are included in a group of collegiate standouts announced by the National Football Foundation (NFF) who have already completed their degree requirements and are playing as graduates this fall on the college football level. 
 
Best In The Country
Since the start of the 2014 season, the Bulldogs have the most wins of any NCAA Division II team in the country. The Bulldogs recorded back-to-back 11-1 seasons in 2014 and 2015 before a 12-3 mark in 2016 followed by an 11-2 showing in 2017 and a 15-1 mark last year for a cumulative 61-8 record. Under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have lost only three regular-season games over the past five years dating back to mid-October of 2013. The Bulldogs now own a 57-3 (.90) regular-season mark since closing the 2013 season by winning their final four games.
 
Under The Lights 
Ferris is 59-58-4 (.504) in evening games (after 5 p.m. ET) going back to 1961, but is 37-26-2 (.585) at home.
 
GLIAC Player Of The Week
Ferris State sophomore WR Sy Barnett (Williamston) was chosen as this week's GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week after the win over Findlay. Barnett not only caught a game-opening 59-yard TD pass on FSU's first offensive play of the season, but he also kicked off five times for 302 yards (60.4 average) with a touchback and served as the Bulldogs' punter. He punted four times for 190 yards, averaging 47.5 yards per punt, and pinned the Oilers all four times inside the 20-yard line, including three times inside the five-yard line which proved critical in the Bulldogs' victory.Offensively, he caught a team-leading three passes for 87 yards (29.0 average)
 
Preseason All-Americans
Lindy's Sports tabbed three Bulldogs as Preseason All-Americans this year, including senior defensive end Austin Edwards (Lansing/Waverly) on the first team along with senior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech) and senior defensive back Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.). Campbell, the reigning Harlon Hill Trophy winner as the nation's top Division II player, was chosen as the publication's Preseason National Offensive Player of the Year. FSU had three of the four players from the GLIAC on the magazine's Preseason All-America list. Campbell was also tabbed as the first team All-America quarterback by Street & Smith's and featured on the cover of the College Football America Division II section where he was highlighted as a member of the publication's "Starting Lineup" as a Preseason First Team All-America choice along with junior linebacker Sam Heyboer (Grand Rapids/South Christian).
 
Harlon Hill Trophy Winner
As a junior last year, Ferris State quarterback Jayru Campbell was the recipient of the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation's top player after leading FSU to the NCAA Division II National Championship game for the first time in school history . He joined former FSU QB Jason Vander Laan (2014-15) as as the second-ever Ferris State athlete to claim the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation's top player. He also became only the fourth-ever GLIAC player to win the honor. A consensus first-team All-American and the National Offensive Player of the Year, Campbell topped all NCAA Division II quarterbacks in rushing with 1,460 yards while throwing for 2,931 with 27 touchdowns. The GLIAC Player of the Year accounted for a national-best 49 touchdowns. 
 
Michigan's Best Team 
Ferris State was chosen this past year by SB Nation as the state of Michigan's best college football team of 2018 last fall, regardless of division. It came on the heels of a similar recognition the year prior by Hero Sports as the state of Michigan's best college football team, regardless of division. Hero Sports unveiled its top team from every state, regardless of division, and the Bulldogs were chosen tops among the 21 collegiate programs in Michigan. The award is the result of an equation created to level the playing field across all divisions of college football using specialized criteria.
 
Big Home Stretch
The Bulldogs have won 36 of their last 41 home games overall at Top Taggart Field dating back to the 2013 season. Last season, in 2018, the Bulldogs went a perfect 7-0 at home in Big Rapids. In each of the previous five years, the Bulldogs lost a single game on their home field, posting records of 4-1 (2013), 5-1 (2014), 6-1 (2015), 7-1 (2016) and 6-1 (2017) including regular-season and playoff action. 
 
Season Openers Under Annese
The Bulldogs improved to 7-1 in season openers under head coach Tony Annese after the victory over Findlay.  The lone setback was a 56-10 decision in 2013 at eventual FCS National Champion North Dakota State inside the Fargo Dome. Overall, FSU has now won each of its last six season openers and outscored the competition 277-84 in that span. Ferris State has not lost a season opener played at home since 2004.
 
AFCA Good Works Team Nominee
Ferris State senior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids/West Catholic) was chosen as one of the nominees for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. It marks the second consecutive year in which he's been a candidate for the honor. Russell was the NCAA Elite 90 Award winner last fall for holding the highest grade point average of any player in the national title game.

FSU Minus Campbell
With the win over Findlay, the Bulldogs have now won each of their past two contests played without Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jayru Campbell as the starting quarterback. Last year, the Bulldogs rolled up 608 yards of total offense and ran for more than 300 yards behind three quarterbacks in a 27-21 home win over Division II power Northwest Missouri State in the D2 Playoffs at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The Bulldogs built a 20-0 lead and withstood a late run by the Bearcats to pull out a second-straight playoff victory on their home field. FSU utilized three different quarterbacks in the victory and allowed only 31 yards rushing by the Bearcats on 24 attempts.
 
Did You Know?
Ferris State has been the last GLIAC school standing in the NCAA Division II Playoffs each of the past three seasons. The Bulldogs reached the national semifinals in 2016 and the quarterfinals in 2017. Last year, FSU avenged a setback to Harding in the 2017 Super Region Three Championship Game by beating the Bisons 21-19 at home in round one of the postseason on Nov. 17. FSU eventually went on to reach the national championship game for the first time in school history
 
Among The National Leaders
The Bulldogs ranked among the nation's top teams in several offensive categories last year, including first in first downs (393), eighth in rushing (272.1 ypg.), 8th in total offense (491.4 ypg.), 11th in team passing efficiency and 15th in scoring (39.3 ppg.). Defensively, the Bulldogs were 18th nationally in third down defense (.325) and eighth in defensive TD's (4). Individually, Bulldog quarterback Jayru Campbell ranked first in the country in points responsible for (294) along with fifth in passing efficiency, eighth in rushing TD's (21), in addition to 12th in total offense (292.7 ypg.). Campbell ranked as the nation's leading rushing quarterback with 1,460 total yards.
 
FSU Matches School Record
With a national semifinal win at Minnesota State last year, FSU tied the school-record of 15 consecutive victories, which was also recorded in 2013 and 2014. The Bulldogs won their final four games in 2013 under head coach Tony Annese before reeling off a perfect 11-0 regular-season in 2014 prior to a playoff setback. FSU's 15-game streak last year represented the longest streak inside of a single-season in school history. The Bulldogs had a 28-game regular-season winning streak from 2013-16 and owned a 42-game regular-season unbeaten (40-0-2) streak from 1992-96.
 
Road Win Streak
Ferris State had won its last 12 games in a row away from Top Taggart Field prior to the setback to Valdosta State in the national championship game last year. The most recent true road loss for FSU was a 20-3 setback at league foe Ashland in September of 2017. FSU closed its 2017 campaign by winning its last four road tilts, including a playoff win at Fort Hays State, and won eight games away from Big Rapids last year. Last season's victory total included a decisive neutral site win over Michigan Tech in the "Battle At The Ballpark" played at the home field of Minor League Baseball's West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. The longest road winning streak in school history is 15 in a row set from 2013-15.
 
Football Week In Michigan
One of college football's greatest rivalries will be showcased to a live national television audience as Fox Sports Detroit announced plans to air Ferris State University's home football game versus Grand Valley State on Nov. 9 as the kickoff event to its annual "Football Week In Michigan" promotion. The Bulldogs' GLIAC home showdown against the Lakers will be televised live across the country on Fox Sports Detroit from Top Taggart Field. Kickoff for the Anchor-Bone Classic has been moved to 3:07 p.m. (ET) to accommodate the TV broadcast. The announcement was made by FSD last Thursday (Aug. 29) during its postgame telecast of the Detroit Tigers game from Comerica Park. FOX Sports Detroit's Football Week in Michigan concept has developed into a landmark initiative highlighting high school championship and all-star games, as well as college and professional gridiron action in November. Last year, it featured more than 55 hours of original football programming, including 19 games airing across Fox Sports Networks. Football Week in Michigan is presented by Kroger.

Deep Arsenal
Last season, a total of 11 different ball carriers scored touchdowns on the ground for the Bulldogs, including a team-high 21 by quarterback Jayru Campbell. Meanwhile, a total of 18 different players touched the ball and owned at least one carry for FSU last season. Additionally, on the receiving end a total of 11 different players also caught at least one TD pass with 19 different receivers hauling in at least one catch last campaign. The Bulldogs utilized four different throwers in the passing game, including slot receiver Jevon Shaw who threw a game-opening 71-yard throw to receiver Sy Barnett in the playoffs against Northwest Missouri State and opened the national championship game with a 80-yard scoring strike to receiver Keyondre Craig.
 
FSU Keeps The Anchor-Bone
With last year's win over rival Grand Valley State, Ferris State held onto the Anchor Bone Trophy awarded annually to the winner of the Ferris State-GVSU football game. The trophy debuted in 2002 and GVSU won the first nine matchups before FSU maintained possession of the trophy four consecutive years from 2012-15. The Lakers reclaimed the trophy in the regular-season in 2016, but the Bulldogs have now won the last two regular-season matchups. Head Coach Tony Annese improved to 7-2 versus GVSU with the win and is now 4-1 at Lubbers Stadium.
 
Great Road Record
In seven seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have been a dominant road team. Presently, the Bulldogs are 38-7 (.844) under his direction in games played away from Top Taggart Field over the course of his seven seasons at the helm. Ferris State's mark is even better outside of his first two seasons as the Bulldogs own a 29-4 mark since the start of the 2014 season away from Big Rapids.
 
Strong First Half Presence
While the Bulldog offense ranked among the nation's top units in total yardage and grabbed the attention, the FSU defense also allowed only 7.1 points per game in the first half of contests last year prior to the national title game. The Bulldogs played upwards of 60 players in five different games last year. Overall, Ferris State outscored the opposition 359-135 in the first half of contests last season and gave up less than 10 first half points in 11 of 16 games, incluidng eight games of three points or less allowed in the first two quarters.
 
Fred Mitchell Watch List 
Bulldog junior kicker Jackson Dieterle is listed among the nation's top performers for the 2019 Fred Mitchell Award presented to the nation's most outstanding kicker and is featured on this season's watch list for the honor. The announcement was made by the Fred Mitchell Award Committee and the award is presented to the top placekicker on the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA level who excels on and off the football field. This year's award recipient will be named in December. 
 
National Game Of The Week
The Bulldogs' road tilt at Central Washington n Saturday (Sept. 14) will be televised via ESPN3 and the ESPN app across the country as part of the NCAA Division II National TV Showcase "Game of the Week". This year will mark the fifth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have participated in the Division II National Showcase. Last year, FSU hosted a D2 National Game of the Week at Top Taggart Field for the fourth-straight year when they hosted Ashland and it marked the third consecutive year in which FSU's outing against the Eagles was the D2 National Game of the Week. The trip to Central Washington will represent the longest trip in school history for the Bulldogs.
 
Among The Best In The Nation
The Bulldogs began their 111th season of varsity competition this fall with their sights set on making a sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU has now made three-straight NCAA Division II National Quarterfinal appearances and is one of only four teams in all of college football to win at least 11 games each of the past five years. The Bulldogs along with Northwest Missouri State are the only programs in Division II football to make the playoffs each of the past five seasons.
Bulldog All-Americans
The Bulldogs finished with six All-Americans a year ago, including Harlon Hill Trophy winning QB Jayru Campbell along with left tackle Devon Johnson, guard Nic Sawyer, defensive end Austin Edwards, linebacker Sam Heyboer and defensive back Delon Stephenson. All but Sawyer and Johnson are back this season. 
 
School Record 15 Victories
Ferris State topped a school all-time record by winning 15 games last season and eclipsed the previous mark of 12 wins. The Bulldogs won 12 games in both 1995 and 2016 en route to national semifinal appearances both years. Ferris State won its 450th game in program history with the round one playoff win over Harding.  Last season, the Bulldogs beat six teams ranked in the top 25 at one point in the AFCA poll.
 
100th Collegiate Victory
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese posted his 100th collegiate coaching victory with the win over Davenport on Nov. 3 of last year in Big Rapids. Annese owns a 76-15 mark to date at the Bulldog helm and also posted 30 victories on the junior college level at Grand Rapids CC following a highly-decorated prep coaching career in Michigan.
 
Best Stretch In School History
Ferris State's 60 wins in the last five years prior to this season (2014-18) marked the Bulldogs' best five-year stretch in school history. In addition, the 68 wins in the past six seasons (68-10) from 2013-18 topped the 1991-96 era for the most wins over a six-year span in program history. FSU went 52-8-2 while capturing five-straight Michigan Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) crowns from '92-96.
 
First In School History
Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit) became the first player in the 111-year history of Bulldog Football to run, catch and throw for a score in the same game in last year's rivalry win over against Grand Valley State. Campbell made his first FSU reception on a key fourth down throwback pass for a 31-yard score with 3:11 remaining against the Lakers. The play, which included slot Jevon Shaw throwing the ball, was the NCAA.com National Play of the Week.
 
Five Touchdown Quarterbacks
With his performance against Findlay early last year, FSU QB Jayru Campbell became the fifth different starting quarterback under Tony Annese at Ferris State to account for five touchdowns or more in a single game. Every QB who has started a game at FSU under Annese's direction now has a five TD game. Campbell accomplished the feat again at Northern Michigan and in a victory against Wayne State for the third time last season.
 
Thanksgiving Weekend Action
Last year represented the fifth year in a row in which the Bulldogs played on Thanksgiving weekend by reaching at least the second round in the playoffs, including a first-round bye in 2014. The five-straight seasons of playing on Turkey Day weekend is the best in the country.
 
Awesome Run
Under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have lost only three regular-season games over the past five years dating back to mid-October of 2013. Two of the setbacks came in 2016 when the Bulldogs eventually made their deepest postseason run prior to last year with a trip to the NCAA-II National Semifinals. Since the middle part of the 2013 season, FSU has only lost once to Grand Valley State and twice to Ashland in regular-season action. The Bulldogs own a 57-3 (.950) regular-season mark since closing the 2013 season by winning their final four games.
 
Nation's Top Rushing QB
FSU junior QB Jayru Campbell led all QB's in the country in rushing (1,460 yards) last season. The Bulldogs have had the nation's leading rushing quarterback in D2 football now six of the past seven years. In 2016, former quarterback Reggie Bell's 1,081 yards on the ground in the regular-season were the most of any QB in the country. Previously, two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning QB Jason Vander Laan led all quarterbacks in rushing in D2 football each of his four years from 2012-15. 

Nation's Winningest Active Coach
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese currently ranks as NCAA Division II's winningest active head coach, based on a minimum of three seasons, with a 76-15 (.835) overall record in seven years. His current mark tops Colorado State-Pueblo head coach John Wristen, who is in second with a 106-25 (.809) mark according to the NCAA.
 
Consensus Top Team In the Country
Ferris State is a consensus top two team in the country in every Division II poll this week, including as high as #1 by CompughterRatings.com along with #1 by the Massey Online Computer Ratings. FSU is also #2 in the current American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) National Rankings and the D2Football.com media poll.
 
Home Of College Football's Greatest Rushing QB
Former FSU signal caller Jason Vander Laan, who was with the Carolina Panthers as a tight end in camp this summer, finished his Bulldog Football career from 2012-15 with 5,953 career rushing yards, becoming the all-time record holder for most rushing yards by any QB at any level. He topped the previous career record of 5,128 yards held by Wofford's Shawn Graves from 1989-92.  Vander Laan eventually finished as a two-time recipient of the Harlon Hill Trophy presented to Division II's top player, becoming the first GLIAC player to ever win the award twice. He also was the first player in NCAA history at any level to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards for four consecutive seasons.
 
The All-GLIAC List
Ninteen Bulldogs were named to the 2018 All-GLIAC team last season and the Bulldogs had three major award recipients as announced by the league office. FSU head coach Tony Annese garnered GLIAC Coach of the Year accolades after leading FSU to the conference championship while quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech) was tabbed as the GLIAC Player of the Year. FSU offensive tackle Devon Johnson (Aurora, Ill.) received the GLIAC's Offensive Lineman of the Year honor.
 
The Bulldogs had seven individuals named to the All-GLIAC First Team, including both Campbell and Johnson. The others included wide receiver Sy Barnett (Williamston), offensive guard Nic Sawyer (Ann Arbor), defensive end Austin Edwards (Lansing), defensive back Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.) and linebacker Sam Heyboer (Grand Rapids.).
 
FSU also had six others receive All-GLIAC Second Team recognition in tailback Marvin Campbell (Detroit), offensive guard Tyler Allison (Clinton Township), defensive tackle Jamil Pollard (West Deptford, N.J.), defensive back Adrian Green (Ellenwood, Ga.), inebacker Avonte Bell (Lansing) and returner Dion Earls (Chicago).
 
Six other Bulldogs earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention recognition in center Jake Boonstra (Grand Rapids) along with defensive tackle Sam Girodat (Jackson), receiver Keyondre Craig (Muskegon), defensive back Cyntell Williams (Battle Creek), slot Jevon Shaw (Farmington Hills) and running back Derrick Portis (Lompoc, Calif.).
 
Highest AFCA National Ranking
FSU's #2 national ranking in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Rankings last year matched the Bulldogs' second-place standing late in the 2015 regular season and early in the 2017 campaign for the school's highest ranking ever in the history of the coaches' poll that dates back to 2000. Previously, FSU was ranked as high as 1st nationally in 2015 by D2Football.com along with the Division II Power Rankings, but has never been #1 in the current coaches poll. Ferris State was ranked #1 for two weeks back in 1996 when the NCAA Football Committee produced the weekly rankings prior to the creation of the head coaches' poll. The Bulldogs are currently #2 again this week in the AFCA poll.
 
A Winning Season 
Ferris State officially clinched its 13th winning season in the last 16 years last season. FSU has now finished with a winning season 21 times in the last 29 campaigns, including 16 times in the last 23 years. The Bulldogs won five consecutive conference championship titles from 1992-96 and were league co-champions in 1999 prior to back-to-back conference crowns in 2014 and 2015. 

Deepest Previous Postseason Run
Ferris State had its deepest previous NCAA Playoff run in 21 years in 2016 since reaching the NCAA Division II National Semifinals in 1995, which had represented the highest finish in school history before last year's run to the national championship game. The Bulldogs also made the postseason in 1996 along with 2014 and 2015, but did not make it past the second round. Before the last three seasons, the only other time FSU played in the final month of the year took place on Dec. 2,1995, when FSU fell 45-7 in the national semfinals on the road at North Alabama.
 
Home Field Edge
Last year not only represented the Bulldogs' fifth-straight NCAA Playoff appearance, but itwas also the fifth year in a row in which FSU played host to at least one playoff game at Top Taggart Field. In 2014, the Bulldogs hosted a playoff game for the first time in 18 years, falling to league rival Ohio Dominican 46-33 while making their first postseason berth since 1996. In 2015, FSU topped Texas A&M Commerce 48-30 in the first round at home before suffering a 38-34 setback to GLIAC rival Grand Valley State in the second round at Top Taggart Field. In 2016, FSU beat Midwestern State (65-34) and Colorado Mines (38-17) in the first rwo rounds before topping rival Grand Valley State on the road (47-32) prior to a national semifinal setback at NW Missouri State (35-20). In 2017, FSU hosted both Ouachita Baptist and Harding in home playoff action before also hosting Harding and Northwest Missouri State in 2018.
 
GLIAC Preseason Poll
The Bulldogs were picked again to finish at the top of the league as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) unveiled its 2019 GLIAC Football Preseason Poll with the Bulldogs first overall. Ferris State picked up 64 total points and eight of a possible nine first-place votes. Behind FSU was Ashland in second place with 55 points followed by Grand Valley State, which totaled 51 points and the other first-place mention.
 
AFCA Good Works Team Nominee
Ferris State junior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids/West Catholic) was chosen as one of the nominees for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The list of 137  nominees was announced by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). It marks the second consecutive year in which Russell has been a nominee for the honor. Two years ago, former teammate and three-time All-America center Jake Daugherty (Big Rapids) was eventually chosen as one of the members of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and invited to be honored at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
 
Interception King
Ferris State linebacker Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.) had five interceptions in a three-game span last year for the Bulldogs. Overall last year, the standout has two "pick six" interception returns for scores. He received the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor following a win at Grand Valley State when he picked off two passes in the game with both coming at key times in the contest. He added another INT in the playoff win over Northwest Missouri State.
 
NFF Hampshire Honor Society
For the fifth consecutive year, Ferris State ranked as one of the top GLIAC members and in-state NCAA Division I and II schools with five student-athletes chosen to the 2019 National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society for their work both on the field and in the classroom. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football senior players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout in their college career.
 
Did You Know?
This year marks the fourth time in the past five years the Bulldogs were tabbed as one of the country's top three teams in at least one preseason national ranking.
 
Follow On Twitter
In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Thursday's contest with live scoring updates on several official social media platforms.  Visit www.twitter.com/FerrisFootball to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates or visit www.facebook.com/FerrisFootball.